Dorian Nakamoto lawyers up, gives his most strident Bitcoin denial yet

 

Dorian Nakamoto — the man Newsweek says created Bitcoin — is really serious about denying his involvement with the cryptocurrency.

Through a Los Angeles-based lawyer, Ethan Kirschner, Nakamoto released a statement early Monday "unconditionally" rejecting the Newsweek story and saying in the clearest terms yet that he isn't (and wasn't) behind the alternative currency.

"I did not create, invent, or otherwise work on Bitcoin," Nakamoto said in the statement. "I have no knowledge of, nor have I ever worked on, cryptography, peer-to-peer systems, or alternative currencies."

It's the latest twist in what remains an unsolved mystery: Who created Bitcoin, the currency that has investors salivating and governments scrambling? Newsweek has stood by its reporting in recent weeks even as Nakamoto has issued ever-stronger denials.

The latest statement, which Nakamoto says will be his last, likely reflects the diminishing likelihood that the Temple City, Calif. resident is behind the anonymous Internet account named "Satoshi Nakamoto," which is credited with inventing Bitcoin.

The real Satoshi Nakamoto is said to have vanished from the Web in 2011 with as many as 1 million bitcoins in his or her possession, which at today's rates would amount to more than $600 million.

Dorian Nakamoto, meanwhile, has been struggling financially. He says he's been unable to find steady work since leaving a job with the Federal Aviation Administration "troubleshooting air traffic control equipment." He's been a substitute teacher and a poll worker, and cut off his Internet subscription because he couldn't afford it. According to Newsweek's own cover story, Dorian Nakamoto fell behind on mortgage payments, and his home was foreclosed on.

It appears unlikely someone who owns half a billion dollars in bitcoins would willingly go through such "financial distress" — Dorian Nakamoto's words — if they had access to such a massive fortune in a nearly-untraceable virtual currency.

Here's the full release, via Reuters's Felix Salmon:

Update: Newsweek says it won't comment on Nakamoto's latest statement until he or his lawyer reaches out to the magazine directly.

 

Brian Fung covers technology for The Washington Post.
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